In an election victory that seemed unthinkable just a day ago, one of the most conservative members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Mike Johnson (LA-4), has been elected Speaker of the House. Rep. Johnson has a 92% rating from the American Conservative Union
and 90% from Heritage Action. Johnson was elected 220-209, unanimously supported by his fellow Republicans.
Rep. Johnson’s unlikely elevation came after Rep. Tom Emmer’s nomination was torpedoed by united conservative opposition inside and outside of Congress – including a social media post by former President Donald Trump, “I have many wonderful friends wanting to be Speaker of the House, and some are truly great Warriors. RINO Tom Emmer, who I do not know well, is not one of them,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. "Voting for a Globalist RINO like Tom Emmer would be a tragic mistake!”
Emmer quickly withdrew his name from consideration and Republicans caucused Tuesday night to select a new majority party nominee for Speaker. After several chaotic ballots, which even saw the reemergence of ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy as a candidate – and where our conservative preference, Rep. Byron Donalds, often ran second – the House Republican Conference settled on Rep. Mike Johnson as the consensus and eventually unanimous nominee.
Johnson issued his first statement as Speaker moments after being elected by his colleagues, calling it "the honor of a lifetime" to preside over the House.
"It is the honor of a lifetime to have been elected the 56th Speaker of the House," the Republican conference vice chairman said in a post on X. "Thank you to my colleagues, friends, staff, and family for the unmatched support throughout this process."
The first Speaker to be elected from Louisiana acknowledged that it had "been an arduous few weeks, and a reminder that the House is as complicated and diverse as the people we represent."
"The urgency of this moment demands bold, decisive action to restore trust, advance our legislative priorities, and demonstrate good governance," Johnson added, promising that Republicans were "eager to get to work" and to "advance a comprehensive conservative policy agenda."
"And we will restore sanity to a government desperately in need of it," he emphasized according to reporting by the New York Post.
House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik described Mike Johnson as a deeply principled man of faith who was strong, fair, and kind, and able to lead the House in facing the country's significant problems. "The people are looking to this great chamber to save America, and save America we will," Ms. Stefanik said. "Today is the day we get this done."
Lawrence Wilson, writing for the Epoch Times reported Speaker Johnson aims to pass the remaining eight appropriations bills in quick succession, which will allow the House to negotiate with the Democrat-controlled Senate from “a position of strength.” He did not rule out the passage of a second stopgap spending bill if necessary.
The new speaker has proposed using creative approaches to moving the spending bills quickly, including forcing some bills out of the appropriations committee and forming a working group to address problems in the Agriculture bill, which failed to pass in September.
Mr. Wilson observed that it is unclear how these tactics will be received by House Republicans given that concern about following the “regular order” of the legislative process was a key complaint against former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Passage of a 45-day stopgap spending measure became the final straw that prompted his removal from office.
However, that analysis oversimplifies the reasons for McCarthy’s downfall and the resulting dissension within the House Republican Conference.
The failure of the Appropriations Committee and its various subcommittees to report out spending bills on schedule, thus requiring another Continuing Resolution, was a proximate cause of McCarthy’s downfall. However, in a strange twist, those same “appropriators” were the 20 or so GOP Members that torpedoed conservative all star Jim Jordan’s candidacy and demanded a big spender, such as Rep. Tom Emmer, as the GOP’s nominee for Speaker of the House.
It has always been our view that the Republican “appropriators” preferred government by crisis and last-minute midnight Omnibus spending bills to regular order because it enhanced their power and shielded them from public political accountability for their big spending ways. Speaker Johnson’s intention to get the appropriations bills out ASAP would seem to be a direct challenge to the “Cardinals” of the Appropriations Committee.
Reports from our friends inside the House Republican Conference indicate Mike Johnson never put his name forward and that his nomination was a bottom-up member-driven process. In the end, what seemed to close the deal for the election of one of the GOP’s most conservative members was not his acknowledged intellect, or commitment to conservative ideology on spending, the right-to-life and constitutional conservatism, but his hard work in the background on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Armed Services Committee and as Chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, where he built friendships and won respect among members across the entire ideological spectrum of the Republican Party.
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